Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) has been fined extensively in the last five years for not being able to provide stable electricity in Dhaka.
The company was fined a sub-total of Tk841 crores over five years. To get out of this situation, the company has taken the initiative to build 15 sub-stations and a capacitor bank in different areas of Dhaka.
The building work is slated to begin in June, said sources from DPDC and the Power Division.
According to the sources, among the electricity companies, DPDC provides the worst quality electricity because of inadequate power required for electricity flow.
Even though the standard power factor should be above nine, DPDC provides 8.5 to 8.8 power factor to most of the areas they operate in. Because of this, they are being fined constantly for power factor charge (PFC) every month.
In March last year, DPDC narrowly escaped from being fined Tk50 crores per month by the Power Division after submitting an application to the regulatory commission.
After the fine was reduced, the regulatory commission ordered the company to pay the fine in installments.
However, the regulatory commission has said DPDC has not been able to develop their power factor following the commission's advice.
DPDC has decided to build 15 sub-stations in Moghbazar, Madartek, Maniknagar, Narinda, Matuail, Siddhirganj, Shitalakkha, Dhanmondi, Kamrangichar, Shyampur, Lalmatia, Satmasjid Road, Postogola and Lalbagh areas of the capital.
DPDC Managing Director Bikash Dewan said: "It is not right to say that the electricity quality is low, rather it is a problem in power factors."
When asked why DPDC is the only electricity provider paying fines, Bikash said: "The areas where DPDC provides electricity have a lot of small factories, where a greater amount of electricity is used.
"Customers are supposed to pay the PFC charge," continued Bikash. "But when we started the process of collecting the charge from customers, the industry owners forced the government to withdraw it by protesting against it."
Bikash added that even though customers have been encouraged to pay for the installation of a power factor improvement (PFI) device to improve power factor, they are not paying any heed to it.
"We will try to start a project from June," said Bikash. "We hope it will improve the power factor."
Power Division sources said that for customers to get quality electricity in Fatullah, Lalbagh, Kamrangichar, Azimpur, Postogola, Jurain and other areas, and to ensure that problems from one area do not spread to another, DPDC needs to install a power factor corrector device and a capacitor bank.
However, the company has failed to take either of these initiatives.
DPDC Executive Director (Engineering) Ramiz Uddin said: "The electricity quality degrades if the power factor goes below nine. If standard power factors are followed, problems like low voltage and inadequate power supply would be eradicated."
He further said: "To overcome this problem, we are undertaking a 850-megabar project. It is estimated to cost Tk600-700 crores. French organization AFD has agreed to give a loan to DPDC for the project."
Other electricity providers such as Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (REB) and Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB) have been consistent in their quality, and consequently, they are yet to be fined. Affiliated sources have cited the absence of factories and industries in the areas under their jurisdictions as the reason for their consistency, as those areas require lesser electricity.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com